“Why should I pay for other people’s kids?” Because that’s real social security. Stop whining.

A few thoughts on the modern world’s fear and loathing of single mothers:

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see a woman who we’ll call Becky. She was in her early thirties. She and her six children (aged seven and under) were living in a one-bedroom flat in a temporary accommodation hostel in South East London. The whole family (the family included an 18-month-old baby) slept in that one bedroom. You can see the beds and bunks in the photos below. The kitchen was tiny. There was just enough space for two adults to fit into it if neither of them moved around very much. Cockroaches rattled across the floor. Becky had plugged holes in the walls with foam to stop the cockroaches from getting into the flat and into the baby’s cot:

Foam In Wall

Apparently, Becky’s local council had told her the family might have to stay in the one-bedroom hostel flat for months. Big houses for large families were in short supply. Becky had 11 children altogether, but the eldest ones had been removed from her care and adopted into other families (Becky said that the council adopted out her white children. The six children she still had living with her were mixed race). One of her older sons lived with her sister. So, Becky was living in this one-bedroom hostel flat with her six youngest children. Her school-aged kids had to sit on the bunk-beds to do their homework while the littler ones raced around the room. This overcrowding was yielding exactly the results that you’d expect. Becky showed me a health visitor’s letter which said that her kids were falling badly behind in their milestones, at least in part because of their living conditions. That in itself is reason enough to find and finance decent accommodation for this family. Every kid deserves a chance.

Beds and cot

Anyway. I’ve thought a lot about Becky and her kids in the couple of weeks since I saw them. Mainly, I’ve thought about the shit that hits the fan whenever somebody writes about mothers who ask for state support. We all know how this one goes in our punitive age (read a few of the comments under this story if you don’t). Why, people will ask, did Becky have these children if she couldn’t afford to look after them? Where are the fathers? Why should this woman and her children be found a decent home? Why should taxpayers pick up the tab?

And on it goes. For myself, I have to say that I find this sort of dismissal – this slamming of doors, particularly in children’s faces – harder to handle as time goes on. It solves nothing and helps nobody. You find in it one of our era’s most poisonous political ideas: that you can sort a situation out simply by insisting it should never have come to pass. As it happens, there are – as there usually are – many reasons for complex situations: ill health, mental health, domestic violence, manipulation and a host of other forces that are beyond my perception and grasp. I don’t need to know the details and neither do you. Knowing the details doesn’t change the facts. Either everyone is entitled to basics like housing, or nobody is. That is social security. All that matters is the need at the hour of need.

Kitchen

15 thoughts on ““Why should I pay for other people’s kids?” Because that’s real social security. Stop whining.

  1. Why should someone pay for other peoples’ children? Because every child is an investment in our collective future. Because it isn’t the fault of children that their parents are poor. Because caring about everyone is what makes a decent society. Because paying now means fewer adults contained in expensive prisons and secure units in years to come. Because if you ever hit hard times then your kids will have a safety net. Now shut the fuck up.

    • Amen, Sasha Callaghan & of course Kate Belgrave. Other reasons include: because no mother should be forced to stay with an abusive partner for fear of homelessness, because no child should get verbally, physically or sexually abused at home from which they cannot flee from, because tax shy, solvent men (whose kids were raised by wives, escorts or nannies) should shut the fuck up & treat parenting as real work & not state dependency.

    • It still should be the accountability of the PARENTS (not others) to find a way to care for their children. Having children is a choice and accountability. I absolutely should not be accountable If someone cannot take care of their children, they should not have them.

      • I agree, I’m happy to pay for abortions because mistakes happen and it means that we don’t have to put that child through pain and abuse. It also means that we don’t have to pay anything more. But if the woman is being forcefully kept at home while pregnant and can’t do anything about it fair enough. If they do have the ability to have an abortion and yet still chooses to wait until birth to finally do something about it then no. I am not paying for your mistakes.

      • As a mother of 4…now adults, I completely agree with you DeeDee. Resources, time, energy, financial, etc was the determining factor in wether to have more children or not. I don’t care how much money is spent, if the parents aren’t responsible, education, free checks in mail, etc…won’t change anything. You can lead a horse to water

  2. There is a myth spread by political propaganda that other people pay through income tax for those on benefit.

    The truth is that there is no such adult as a non-taxpayer, as 75 per cent of all taxes come from stealth indirect taxes and VAT, which the poor pay to up to 90 per cent tax rate as a percentage of any money they get.

    The poor spend every penny they receive and so pay a higher percentage of their money in VAT than any other income level.

    Income tax only pays 25p in the pound of the tax collected by government.

    Work that is low waged and below the income tax level, leaves people with no National Insurance history, even if receiving in-work benefits, and so out of the welfare state and out of the state pension, when the poor have no other income in old age.

    Those people castigating single parents with large families, will equally get hit by pension reform, that will leave them with nil state pension, when it is too late to make any other arrangements financially.
    See why, under my petition, in my WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT section, at:
    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/state-pension-at-60-now

    The children of this lady have no future ahead of them with welfare and pension reform.

    The jobs being created are part time below even the minimum wage, casual and leaving them outside the welfare state when companies drop them like a hot potato before they have been employed long enough to have the same rights as full time staff.

    This is where the biggest tax avoidance is, not some few rich folk with Swiss bank accounts. Because firms are avoiding paying National Insurance and PAYE for staff they employ. One Tax Barrister suggested this might be into the billions of tax pounds lost each year.

  3. “You find in it one of our era’s most poisonous political ideas: that you can sort a situation out simply by insisting it should never have come to pass.”

    “Either everyone is entitled to basics like housing, or nobody is. That is social security. All that matters is the need at the hour of need.”

    This. A hundred times this.

  4. 11 Kids? you would thing she would have learned her lesson after 1 or 2 kids. She thought “The more kids I have the more benefits I’ll get” and it backfired. Shame for the kids. She has even tried the racist card, all the white kids have been adopted & only the mixed race are left. What does she expect? All her kids to be supported by others so she can be free to do what she wants?

  5. This is dangerous thinking that promotes an immature attitude to the very serious task of raising a child. You are very quick to blame the government for “failing the children” as you put it, but gloss over the fact that they have ultimately been failed by the parents first and foremost.

    The parents have consciously brought more children into a situation that is already unsustainable and they ought to shoulder their portion of responsibility. The expectation that you have a God given right to live your life as you please and have the government and your fellow citizens pick up the tab is frankly ridiculous, immature and unfair.

    Yes the government appears to have failed these children and of course every child has the right to a basic standard of living. But the root cause of the issue is a lack of responsibility and respect for the children’s standard of living on the part of the parent.

    This article may help these children, and i hope it does, but i worry it will perpetuate the mentality that this situation is an acceptable trajectory for future generations to strive for. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t think it is.

  6. i don’t care what any of you mothers say, you make me absolutely sick! i know of many single mothers who have many kids and it seems every new man theres a new baby 9 months later and then a new man 12 months later! yes! so if she has a baby 9 months later how long was she with him before she got knocked up? absolute fuck’n stupidity at it’s finest and the ones paying for it are the ones trying to make it in life. i’m sick of paying for other people kids only to have them come through my yard and smash my lawn furniture when i’m not home!!!!! kids should be born into a healthy environment, if you have any doubt in your mind it shouldn’t happen especially a month after you meet the guy. having kids should be like crossing the border into another country. if you don’t have the funds you don’t have the priveledge to enter just like you shouldn’t have the priveledge to have children. simple as that. it should be required that the funds be verified before people are to have children. the population is way out of control and you have people bringing kids into this world just cause they can live off their cheque from the government. i know single moms with 6 kids who live better then i do not working at all and i work my ass off. the only ones you will here promoting this shit is the single mothers cause they depend on what the government gives them. these mothers should hold their head in shame though. they seem to think the government should care for their kids and that money grows on tree’s. well guess what dummies, the government has no money. all they have is what they take from other hard working individuals. going against the arguement of the future. all i’ve ever seen raised by mothers like this are little fuck’n brats that steal, drink, and end up in trouble their whole life so how in the fuck can anyone say the funding for them to do nothing is helping. take everything away and make parents responsible on there own and see how fewer babies are born into this world. the kicker, we don’t just help a single mom out in her first couple years of parenthood, we literally support her fuck’n kid and her until that child is 18. so fucked up i can’t even believe human beings let it get this way. i want to live back in my grandfather’s times because back then people took decision making more seriously!!!

    • You work your ass off. I believe that. What you don’t appear to understand is that taking care of 6 children as a single parent is an enormous amount of work, and although she’s getting more in benefits than you, she’s almost certainly spending it all, too. She’s not sitting around drinking margaritas while watching TV. Have you ever taken care of 6 kids for a day or two? Maybe you should try it.

      • I absolutely agree with Rick. Why is it seen as a sacrifice to work your ass off taking care of 6 kids? Was it not a choice? I work my ass off and have no kids. That was a choice too ffs.

        I feel total and utter disgust with people who’s only ability is to pop out humans into our world without relying on other people’s handouts.

        Our population is getting completely out of hand and everyone is hell bent on ensuring we carry on increasing our numbers to the detriment of the poor old planet.

  7. You commenters are ridiculous. The fact that adult men and women can add to the population’s bills annually without accountability is appalling. What’s the difference between this and taking in a bunch of strays that multiply like rabbits. People are more important than animals, I get it. But if you can’t afford what you’ve created then you must work it off. I compare it to the old days of washing dishes in a restaurant when you couldn’t afford your bill. Oh they don’t have any dishes for you, guess you’re going to jail.

  8. Why did she have so many kids KNOWING she isn’t able to handle the upkeep and financial costs of having those children. And why does that cost get passed along to people like me who believe people need to stop shooting out kids because they want even more financial assistance. I’m sorry but this is on the parents, close your legs.

  9. Now that Biden is planning to give families 3k per child this only infuriates me even more.

    I work my ass off and chose to not have kids because I’m not in a good position. My sister in law has a husband, house, job and just squatted out another kid. She qualifies for 9k.

    Why should she be rewarded for making poor choices? I’m struggling right now but noooooo, let’s reward people who cannot make the right choices.

    Why not help responsible people like me get back on their feet so WE can have a kid?

    Telling people to quit whining is toxic and will result in even more anger. Awful article.

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